27 September 2016

Limerick City Labour T.D. and Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Jan O’Sullivan has called upon the Minister for Finance and constituency colleague Michael Noonan T.D. to review and amend the current legislation governing the ‘Living Cities Initiative’.

The scheme was first introduced as part of the 2013 budget with a specific remit of incentivising owners to refurbish their historic buildings with commercial or residential potential such as old Georgian houses in designated cities. This new scheme built upon the original ‘living over the shop’ scheme which also targeted  the owners of city or town centre properties with various tax incentives to redevelop, upgrade and re-let these properties.

“‘I think in the context of today’s housing market and the pressures people are under to source suitable accommodation in particular students and young professionals the current rules governing the ‘living cities initiative’ should be reviewed’.

“The ultimate objective of these schemes is to breathe new life back into our towns and cities as more people live and work without the need to commute long distances. However one distinct disadvantage for residential property owners is that they are not permitted to re-let or even sub-let their renovated property.

“Many of these buildings are at least three to four storeys in height with additional basements which once upgraded offer opportunities for a number of lettings which can still include the property owner.

“In the context of the forthcoming budget and at a time when our economy is continuing to recover and confidence levels are returning an examination and relaxation of existing scheme guidelines may help towards the creation of more lively vibrant towns and cities as newly redeveloped buildings become attractive to potential tenants.

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